Scotland Divided on Impact Independence Will Have on Charities, Survey Shows

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16th July 2014 13:53 - Voluntary

A recent survey, conducted by nfpSynergy, has highlighted an evident divide within Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and members of the public when it comes to the impact Scottish independence will have on its charities.

Findings showed that 19 of the 20 Scottish National Party MSPs questioned thought that Scottish independence would have a positive impact on charities.

Seven out of 10 Labour MSPs and four out of six Conservative MSPs, however, thought that funding for charities would be adversely affected by Scottish independence.

‘Yes Scotland’ MSPs argued that independence would create stronger and wealthier charities through: better focus on Scottish people and Scottish issues, more access to government ministers and departments, and less branch mentality and better public giving.

‘Better Together’ MSPs, on the other hand, believed Scottish independence would further restrict charity activity by: the significant reduction in funding pools for charities, loss of UK support and resource network, and the greater demand on charities to provide services.

The top five implications for charities, pressure groups or voluntary organisations in an independent Scotland, according to the Scottish public, are:

  • The future could become less certain for charities – 25%
  • Less government support available to charities – 23%
  • Charities could be better placed to meet the needs of Scottish people – 21%
  • Independence could help to direct additional resources to charities and voluntary groups in Scotland – 19%
  • Scottish charities would be less well placed to meet the needs of Scottish people – 16%

More than three in 10 (31%) said they did not know what impact Scottish independence would have on charities, pressure groups or voluntary organisations.

Tim Harrison, nfpSynergy’s Head of Professional Audiences, said: “Whichever way the Scottish people vote on September 18th, Scotland will be a different country post-referendum. With the main political parties (excluding SNP) advocating new powers for Holyrood should Scotland vote no, charities need to be prepared to work with a Scottish government that will have more power and autonomy.”

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